15 Months ago I embarked on my Marketing placement year and to be honest with you I had no idea what to expect. With the recruitment industry having so much emphasis on digital marketing, I was well out of my depth. Words such as SEO and PPC really puzzled my naïve mind, which is pretty shocking considering I study Marketing at University. Anyway, I turned up on my first day with a freshly ironed short sleeve shirt, trousers and some nicely polished shoes. I had no idea what I was in for… as I walked into the office for the first time, it was evident that I missed the t-shirt, shorts and flip-flop memo.
#What have I learnt?
Throughout my 15-months I was required to perform daily maintenance for 5 different websites. I had never used a content management system before, using WordPress every day soon made me a master. I was tasked by the Exectuive Partnerships directors to create new pages on the website for any new recruitment specialists that joined. I was able to work alongside the likes of Vicky Coray and Kayleigh Little to put together a page that shows off exactly who they are and what they recruit. I was taught how to manage multiple social media pages, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. Every morning I got myself into the routine whereby I scheduled posts throughout different points of the day. LinkedIn was a huge success as posting jobs and general activity on the company page saw a massive influx of followers. Watching the progressive follower growth, through my actions, was really rewarding and exciting as it demonstrated my success. With the rise and impact of digital marketing, it’s important to learn how to use social media scheduling tools as pretty much every business has a presence on these platforms.
Working for a digital marketing recruitment agency has given me the luxury of gaining a valuable insight into what a marketer would do day-to-day across a variety of industries and most importantly at different levels from Executive through to Director level. This has equipped me with the knowledge and preparation for obtaining my first graduate job.
For the first 6 months at 11 Investments, I was under the guidance and direction of Charlotte Barrow, who made me feel welcome and was always willing to give me advice. We had weekly sit-downs to check in on my progress and she helped me prioritise my workload, thank you Charlotte! After Charlotte moved on, in came Samantha Phillips. I quickly learnt that Samantha had a completely different style of management. Adapting to a different leadership style is something that I will inevitably have to face at some point through my career. Learning this skill will make the process a lot faster and smoother. Samantha really pushed me and challenged my performance, which has continued my overall development over the last 9-10 months.
#Value of Internships
Chances are that most undergraduates will have some sort of retail-based experience as their first job. Take myself, for example, the 2016 summer I was working at a farm park as a part-time assistant, not exactly the most desirable experience to have when searching for a job. Doing a placement year gives you an opportunity to learn, not just from a textbook. Admittedly, there were points where I was receiving projects, which initially I had no idea how to complete. Being tasked to put together salary surveys and flyers that contains valuable industry insights in and around the secretarial and HR market was challenging but researching skills that I obtained from university made the task a lot easier. The reality I faced, quickly, was that the skills I learnt from university were transferable but the knowledge? Not so much. For me, I can’t express how valuable gaining any sort of relevant experience is for graduates. I think about how many other people were on my course, we are all going to have a similar CV so having a well-backed year of experience I hope will differentiate me.
Learning hidden skills and traits such as getting up early, commuting to London every day and generally being in an office environment would be a shock to any student given the times we would usually get out of bed. A placement year has taught me excellent time management skills that I can use to complete my degree. Managing multiple projects simultaneously will help me complete my dissertation as well as keeping on top of all the formative/summative work I will be set.
#Benefits of working at 11 Investments
11 Investments offer one of the most unique cultures I could have ever imagined. No, they aren’t paying me to say this but I truly believe I couldn’t have obtained a better place to work for the last 15 months. It suits me as an undergraduate as I didn’t have to wear a suit to work every day, which was an absolute winner in the summer months. I soon became a master at table tennis as they conveniently had a table in the chill out area. There was always soft drinks stocked up in the fridge, not to mention the alcoholic options that came out on a Thursday and Friday.
When my friends ask me ‘what are the best moments of your placement year’ it’s hard to narrow it down. Obviously winning the 5 a-side football league in Victoria was a fantastic result, considering we went on a winless season when I first joined! The ‘QBs’ (quarterly bashes) I was fortunate to be a part of were amazing. Going to Epsom/Newbury horse races, Clay Pigeon Shooting and even having our own 5-star bowling alley to ourselves will always stick out in my mind. 11 Investments gave me responsibility and autonomy in this role, some consultants I create selling pages for, giving me the opportunity to create a selling document that presented themselves to potential new clients. Being trusted with that sort of responsibility was easily one of the best features of the job.
Overall, I can’t really sum up the year, to put it simply it’s honestly been one of the best experiences I have ever done and I’m very fortunate to have done it at 11 Investments. I would like to thank all the company directors, Joe Curtis, Charlie Rawstron, Andy Sellers, Chris Shewry, Jordan Parikh and Sam Church for allowing me the opportunity to work with their businesses. I would also like to thank Samantha Phillips and Charlotte Barrow for not only putting up with me but also improving my overall ability. These past 15 months has also demonstrated that marketing is a career that I would love to pursue, but for now, it’s time for me to go and enjoy fresher’s week a little bit too much.